If you have read the other posts on onsite SEO and canonical URLs, we can assume that you are aware about the importance of good custom permalinks structure for an optimum search engine ranking and trackback optimization.
Like everything in life, has two ways to do things – the right way and the wrong way, and permalink structure is no exception to it! Let me introduce you to the third way, the good way of using your custom permalinks structure!
Yes ! you might be wondering why the right way and the good way occupy different positions and is there an actual difference between the two?
Yes there is!
Before starting any SEO campaign, you must make sure what you are optimizing your site for.It can be for Good Google Keyword Placement or viewers (yes both mean different) , it can also be fine tuned for adsense and other CPM programs.
This care needs to be taken especially in case of permalinks since the name suggests –They are permanent!
So lets get a quick brush up on permalinks and the best permalink structure to go with before we discuss the intricacies.
What is Permalink?
You have seen it in the wp-dashboard, you have heard seo experts and noobs (sometimes, in-fact a lot of the times, both the adjectives will refer to the same person ) talk about it and this word never fails to make its presense felt in any seo program u see on the internet.So what exactly is it and how does it affect seo? lets see..
Permalink as the link suggest is compound for Permanent- Link. It means it is that exclusive url which will lead to the article/post in question.(Atleast that’s how its supposed to be, otherwise its bad for seo if you have multiple links point ot the same article and google will impose an alert for duplicate content .)
What Are Custom Permalinks In WordPress ?
Permalink structure is the way you make the link to your article look like.It includes,but not restricted to, the article name and category and insome cases the post date and time and are used for the purpose of sending trackbacks and sharing on web 2.0 sites.
What Is the Best Custom Permalink structure For SEO ?
Here are the different type of permalink structures you can opt for , with the pros and cons of each listed to make it easier for you to decide which one suits you best.
1)Default Permalink Structure For WordPress
This will make the format such that every article will be recognized by its post id.
This setting is strictly not recommended for seo, since it has not got even a bit to do with the term SEO!
It shows your benevolent side and that you are least concerned to show up in any search whatsoever.Apart from the sarcasm-NONE!
Cons-Since it related to post id, you loose out on the keyword competition and the whole structure boils down to some random number and its really bad for seo.
It relates your article to a number which will provide no clue to the reader or the search engine whatsoever on what the article is about and makes you loso out on valuable keywords.
2)Day And Name Structure
This will categorize the article on the basis of the date then the article title.
This is considered a good setting for your permalink.
Pros-allows user to use a proper optimized title for the post.
Generally and most widely used structure.Since the date comes before the post title , whenever there is a search query the PHP does has to scan only the particular date to narrow down the search term and return the required article.This speeds the site load time and reduces load on server to process the request. Brownie points for speed
Cons-It does optimize for speed but since it has been prefixed with the date , the keywords get diluted considering search engines give more weightage to the trerms as they appear in the title name in order.
3)Month And Name Permalink Structure
This setting resembles the above setting except for the date part. I prefer this setting the most.
Pros-Similar to the above structure but has an added advantage of a lesser value to dilute your title, the date. This one has the same advantage as the above setting but still generally considered better that above as far as SEO is concerned.
Cons-This is the second best setting in terms of performance( site load time) and optimization.
4)Numeric Values For Permalinks
This will call the article to be displated from the archives stack.
Pros-This calls posts with respect to their archives, and though the archives will have a matching or synonymous name with the article title
Cons- still we lose out on the keyword advantage and neither is this any faster than the above two.
5)Custom Permalink Structure
You can customize this to suit your needs .the tags are intuitive and can be arranged in whatever chronology to suit the users needs. You can see a lot of people use this structure and tweak it to appear as [http://domain.com/postname].
Pros- this structure is the best from the keyword optimization point ofview and gets you an immediate upper hand in rankings on account of the keyword advantage.
Cons- The biggest drawback of this permalink structure, and the one that most site owners ignore is that since it uses the post name directly it imposes heavy queries on the PHP on your server when readers use the search feature on your site to find the post. The site has to goo through the entire database and posts to find the post , this has serious impacts on the site load time.On hosts with limited resources this will drastically slow down your site, same will be true with other hosts though the impact will be a little lesser.We must not forget that search engines give higher ranking to faster loading sites and we cant loose out on this advantage.
Choosing your permalink structure is a completely personal choice and does not have an absolute answer to the “what is the best permalink” question. But if we have to sum up and rank them according to keyword benefits they will be
1)Domain/Postname – best for seo, worst for speed
2)Date /post –name- Best for speed ,not too good for keyword marketing and SEO
3)Month /post –name optimum for both keyword optimization and speed, and with a few efforts from directory submissions and article marketing we can get the backlinks to make up for the loss in keyword advantage , and we will still have the added privilege of speed and end up in an overall better position and bring massive traffic than the above two structures in the long run.
Let me know what permalinks structure you follow and how it has impacted your sites Traffic and what is the default setting for your permalink ?